Data Recovery Plans

Tech travel gadgets that can turn your hotel room into a smart home

Bringing your streaming device on holiday means you no longer have to watch local TV. Instead, you can jump right into Netflix, Amazon or other streaming services and keep yourself (and the family) entertained if the weather turns against you and your beach plans.

Options by Amazon, Roku and Google all plug into the HDMI port of any television, which is almost always exposed on a hotel room TV. However, some hotels have a separate panel for the TV’s various inputs, usually located on the wall just below the screen.

You’ll then need to plug the streaming stick into either the TV’s own USB port, another USB socket nearby, or remember to take the wall charger (and a travel adapter, of course). You could also power the streaming device from a power bank if there isn’t a USB socket or wall outlet close enough.

Next, you need to connect the streaming stick to the hotel’s Wi-Fi network. If the network is open and only requires a password, then you can connect in exactly the same way as you do at home, via your smartphone. However, many hotel Wi-Fi networks require an extra level of authentication, such as your name or room number, which is entered into a website form.

In this case, you will need to share the internet connection of another device — like your laptop or smartphone — to the streaming stick. Windows and Mac OS both do this natively, so once they are connected to the hotel Wi-Fi (or Ethernet), they can share this with other devices, like your Chromecast. 

You can also use your smartphone as a mobile hotspot, but this will use data from your 4G or 5G connection, so so make sure you are fully aware of data use and the costs of data in the country you are visiting. In many cases, using 4G data abroad can be extremely expensive.

Instead of watching the local stations, you can now access streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. However, it is worth remembering that the content of these services varies by country due to licensing agreements, so your favorite TV show might not be available at your vacation destination.